NEClimbs - information for New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont rock and ice climbers
Current conditions in North Conway, NH at 3:00p on 06/25/22 - Temperature: 87.6 °F - Wind speed: 0.0 mph - Wind chill: 87.6 °F - Barometric pressure: 29.917 in - 3 Hour Barometer Trend: Falling Slowly - Humidity: 15 %
BugCON 4: almost too intense for climbing, DEET required
4 out of a possible 5
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December 25, 2003

Hi Folks,

I really can't believe I'm here, glass of wine in hand, putting this Report out on Christmas Eve. And frankly I sincerely doubt that I will get up to the Notch tomorrow, Christmas Day. Somehow I don't think that the wife would appreciate me taking off to go climbing, and besides I'd probably loose all my presents. <grin> Of course the weather hasn't been very cooperative either, so it's not like there is going to be all that much to show and tell.

Yes Virginia, it did rain pretty much all day today here in our little Valley. Not very hard, and somewhat inconsistently, but rain it did. It was a constant drizzle, that has provided us with about 3/4 of an inch of liquid precipitation. All in all nothing to be proud of.

I was fortunate to be able to get out on Tuesday with a couple of friends from out of town. None of us had all that much time, so we had to knock things off as fast as we could. We met in the lot at Frankenstein at 8:30 and there was only a single car in front of us. We chugged off down the tracks in very warm temps, heading for that meat locker, Dracula. Needless to say there was no one else there. Drawing straws, Dave got the short one, and headed up. It was pouring water and the center pillar looked the best, so that was the way he went. Steve and I followed quickly, and we walked off. The hanging Garden was even fatter than last week, with several huge freestanding pillars and amazing curtains.

We walked back across Dracula and headed past Machine. It looked fatter than Saturday, but just as wet - so that wasn't a good option. Dropline looked just as wet, as did Last Exit. Eric McAllister and friend did a new line just left of Dropline last weekend, and it also looked fatter. You can see it in one of the pictures of Dropline that I took. Several people have commented that so far this season, most of the normally huge climbs like Pegasus and Smear, aren't happening. However, there is all this amazing new stuff to do. And that's definitely the case.

We headed on down towards Standard and came across the start to Penguin. THo I've done the climb many, many times, I have never done the normal start. Well this time it was totally filled with ice, so I headed up. It was so fat and plastic that it took an effort to make myself put in a screw and sling 2 trees. I brought the two of them up about the time that Mark Synnot cruised up with a client in tow. After short discussion, we decided to do the big column right of Penguin, while Mark did the Penguin itself. 45 minutes later we were all done and hiking round again.

When we got to Standard there were people everywhere, in spite of huge open holes in the ice. I was kind of surprised at all the activity in the 45 degree temps, but hey...who am I to say? Back at the truck at 2 PM. it was a great day. Close to spring conditions, and great fun with good friends. Now let's just hope that things get cold again soon. I still have my eye on Last Exit and Machine.

Oh yes... I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas. All the best to each and every one of you. Let's hope for a profitable and peaceful New Year.

Here are a couple of pictures from Tuesday:

Frankenstein Amphitheater
Dave Parker on Dracula center
Mark Synnott and Dave Parker on the Penguin
Crowded Tuesday on Standard Route

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Have fun and climb safe,

Al Hospers
The White Mountain Report
North Conway, New Hampshire

Climbing for speed records will probably become more popular, a mania which has just begun. Climbers climb not just to see how fast and efficiently they can do it, but far worse, to see how much faster and more efficiently they are than a party which did the same climb a few days before. The climb becomes secondary, no more important than a racetrack. Man is pitted against man.
Yvon Chouinard
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